Google Desktop 2 – Another Step Towards Google OS
One of the first things I noticed upon installing the second iteration of the Google desktop was how polished it was. As wonderful as Google Earth was, one of my gripes was that the user interface was so ugly. Google desktop, however even in beta feels like a polished product. It's ability to sniff out the sites that I am visiting and tailor the news captions to my tastes has been going fairly well, and the search feature is very good. I love that it keeps an index of my Gmail so I can search it as easily as outlook.
Then Google announced it's “Google Talk” IM service. Apparently it is compatible with just about everything similar to the Jabber client. I'd imagine they are going to integrate that into the Google desktop at a point in the very near future. So, now Google has search, a portal, email, and IM. I think that pretty much puts them on level with the other major internet players, and makes them a threat to everyone. Microsoft has to be seriously biting their nails over the Google desktop, not because it is polished, pretty, etc… But instead for the API that will allow developers to write applications that can run in it, similar to Yahoo's Konfabulator, or Apple's widgets. One of my other gripes was that the Google desktop didn't cache pages from Firefox, they have fixed that, which makes it usable for me, except that my main machine is a Mac. That places it squarely as a platform that could potentially marginalize Windows, and pave the way for Google to releasae their own operating system. It has yet to be seen if Google will start releasing their products for the Mac and for Linux. I truly wish they would, but the Google desktop is top notch.